The Emerald Island

This image of the day in NASA’s Earth Observatory is an extremely rare display of a cloud-free Irish island. NASA says:

It is easy to see from this true-color image why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle. Intense green vegetation, primarily grassland, covers most of the country except for the exposed rock on mountaintops. Ireland owes its greenness to moderate temperatures and moist air. The Atlantic Ocean, particularly the warm currents in the North Atlantic Drift, gives the country a more temperate climate than most others at the same latitude.

That image coincided with St Patrick’s day last year, for which I created an Irish-Island version of the population cartogram series (see the Ireland Population Cartogram here). Continue reading

Britain in Snow

Another winter, another big freeze in the United Kingdom and Ireland: This winter has started early and brought the first significant snow cover to the British Isles at the beginning of December. Coming with a breeze of Arctic air from the North-East, the snow made its way down to the south of Great Britain, with Aqua satellite catching this moment at a time when some parts of the South-West still managed to escape the icing. This image from the NASA’s Earth Observatory shows the snow lingered in Great Britain and Ireland on December 8, 2010 with a few clouds over Northern Ireland and the South-East of England. To show the impact on the people living there, I reprojected the image using the gridded equal-population projection which transforms the picture according to the population distribution. Especially the snow-free areas in the South as well as in the Liverpool-Manchester region strike out in the population projection, showing that at this time the most severe affected areas were the less populated (what then was about to change, with the second cold spell bringing much more snow and ice to the more populated areas of the UK just in time for Christmas):

The British Isles covered in snow December 2010
(click for larger map)

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